Booth's pacing threatened to wear a track in the bare cement floor of the holding cell, while Brennan watched from her vantage point on the narrow bench that formed the room's only furniture.

On one hand, she was finally able to take her torturous heels off, and for that she was grateful. On the other hand, the cell smelled like bleach and was nauseously lit with one spasming, green fluorescent bulb that threatened to sputter into death at any moment.

"Yeah, no, that's great. Good work, man," Booth nodded, holding onto his cell as if daring anyone to rip it from his hand. The little patrolman had graciously allowed him to keep it, citing professional courtesy. Booth had replied that professional courtesy was the only thing saving him from a 'monumental butt-whooping'.

Brennan shivered in the paltry heating of the detention center. Apparently the metro police were doing their best to save natural resources by freezing out their detainees.

Booth glanced at his partner with narrowed eyes, catching her brief shudder. He wriggled out of his suit jacket while juggling his cell phone. "--yeah, first thing tomorrow. Thanks, Charlie."

He shut his phone with a flourish, joining Bones on the bench and wrapping his coat over her shoulders. She protested only briefly before accepting his offer. The coat smelled like Booth's cologne and held the lingering heat of his body deliciously.

"We got him, Bones. Quijano's in custody."

She closed her eyes with relief, exhaling a shaky breath. She had been pondering on the possible necessity of recorking all those bottles of champagne, which was both literally and metaphorically unfeasible.

"And Hacker's coming down personally," he continued, gently bumping his shoulder against hers. "That must be due to you... an Assistant Director wouldn't usually come all the way down here to bail me out," he joked.

She didn't smile.

"Booth... I'm sorry. I feel the need to say that. This wasn't my best performance. I made some... questionable decisions and I..." her voice lowered until she was barely whispering.

"Hey, Bones," he interrupted. "Lecture aside, you got number four. By yourself. That's a huge deal."

"Well," she corrected, "more accurately, you got him...and then you let him go, and then he got me, and then some other agents got him."

He shook his head, amazed as usual at her ability to get directly under his skin.

"I'll tell you one thing--I've never wanted so badly to kick somebody's ass. When I saw that guy with his hand on your leg?" He whistled quietly. "And when I found out Quijano had taken you... yeah. And to be totally honest, Bones? I wanted to kick your little friend Hacker's ass too, almost all week. And now I'm in jail, and I have kicked exactly no one's ass."

She grinned at him. "If it makes you feel any better, I don't think Andrew will be able to consider himself 'my little friend' for long."

Booth looked up sharply. "Really."

Brennan shrugged, fingering the edge of her dress anxiously. "I don't think I need anyone in my life who's going to encourage me to make reckless, ill-advised choices." Leaning back against the hard wall, she rolled her eyes. "I seem to do that quite well on my own."

"You really, really do," he agreed amiably.

They sat in silence for several moments, listening to the clatter and bustle of the holding cells around them. Booth's eyes were drawn to the bare skin of her legs, just touching his, and he noticed the brush burns on both her knees where she'd caught herself after being thrown out of the car.

"Does this hurt?" he asked quietly, tracing a hesitant finger just around the edge of the abrasions.

Restraining the pleasurable tremor caused by the soft pressure of his warm skin, Brennan shook her head.

"Why did you kiss me?" she asked quietly.

"What?" He turned to face her, finding her crystalline eyes staring back at him with open curiosity. "You were about to say my name, Bones--I saw you..."

"No I wasn't. I was going to call you 'baby', which I thought was an appropriate moniker for the characters we were playing."

"You... seriously?"


"Huh... okay," he replied awkwardly.

Booth cleared his throat, tugging at his tie nervously. "I wanted to apologize for that anyway... that's not how I... I wanted you to know that that's not normally how I would... you know, kiss."

Coloring with embarrassment, she waited for him to continue.

"I mean... I was playing a role, trying to keep your cover, so I... well, normally I wouldn't be so..."

"So what?" she asked, slightly breathless.

"So... forceful," he confessed, ducking his head abashedly.

"I liked it," she responded, before even considering her words.

His head shot up, and she found herself suddenly staring into his warm eyes. Her gaze darted to his slightly parted lips in fascination, unable to will herself to look away.

Booth swallowed. He had never kissed a woman that he already loved. Usually the kissing part came first. The weight of the moment felt like it was smothering him, and he was as nervous as a teenager. But he couldn't stop himself from leaning closer... closer...

She brought her mouth against his softly, remembering the heat of his lips, the surprising sleekness contrasting with the harsh stubble of his burgeoning beard. His mouth opened against hers, inviting her to lean closer and explore.

Their hands found each other's and twined together, palms meeting tenderly. The kiss was gentle, and sweet, and rich with possibility. Brennan felt something blooming inside of her, and gripped his hand more tightly as if to hang on.

Booth raised his other hand, shaking slightly, to cup the back of her head, drawing her under him with greater pressure. He had never been so transported by a kiss in his life, never. He shifted his lips over hers, seeking. She felt delicate, and hot, the smooth slide of her tongue just touching his, and he didn't know if he'd ever be able to live without this again.

They were interrupted by an awkward cough, and parted breathlessly to find Hacker staring at them through the bars of their cell.

Brennan blushed, raising her hand to her mouth as if to hide the evidence.

"Soooo..." Andrew started awkwardly. "I'm going to have to assume that this isn't just another keep your cover type of kiss..."

"Andrew, I'm so sorry," Brennan started, rising from the bench to meet him. "I wanted to talk to you first, but..."

Hacker nodded slowly, finding himself submerged in a moment that he had hoped would never occur, but fully expected nonetheless. Booth had stood too, arms crossed over his chest and looking as forbidding as always. Hacker barely spared him a glance, having had more than enough of Booth's intimidation for one day.

"I probably should have known," he stopped her. "But hey. I mean, whatever... I hope..." he shrugged, searching for words. "I hope you're both happy." He hoped he sounded more sincere than he felt.

"Thank you, Andrew," Brennan said quietly, reaching through the bars to grasp his hand in hers.

"Yeah, well..." he smiled at her sadly, feeling the triumph of his day tarnish ever so slightly.

He cleared his throat, needed to escape the sympathy in Temperance's eyes and the possessive warning in Booth's. "I've got everything cleared up. You're free to go, with the Captain's apologies... even though, now I'm thinking maybe I should keep you both locked in here."

"Fine with me," Booth shrugged arrogantly.

Hacker shot him a withering look. It seemed more than enough that he'd gotten the girl; he didn't need to gloat about it. He tossed Booth a set of car keys with more force than was necessary.

"I had an agent bring your ride around-- it's out front." He squeezed Temperance's hand one last time and turned to walk away. "You do know, however," he called over his shoulder, "that you're both going to have to talk to Sweets about this..."

Brennan turned to face her partner, a small smile playing at the edges of her lips. "We were supposed to have some sort of talk," she reminded him. "Although, you could say that maybe... we just did..."

His smile was warm and teasing as he held his hand out to her. "Talking's overrated, Bones. Let's go home."

She wrapped her fingers gladly in his, holding his jacket shut in front of her. The situation seemed oddly amusing, and she felt the need to share.

"You know, Booth, our first kiss was under duress of Christmas blackmail, and our second kiss was in a whorehouse, and now our third kiss was..." she gestured inelegantly at their surroundings, "in a jail. We seem to have a sort of... Bonnie and Clyde thing going on."

Booth winced. "Very funny."

"I am becoming quite amusing."

"So you say, Bones."

"I do say, that's why I just said it--"

"--Yeah, I got it."

"I'm not really sure that you do..."

"Really, Bones?"

As they left the station hand in hand, their bickering melted seamlessly into the sounds of the city at night.

The End

AN: Oh noooooooooo, it's over! :' ( I'm sort of relieved, but mostly just sad. 19 chapters in 19 days! And I really, truly, wouldn't have done it without all the support. You guys are the very freakin' best. BEST!

And now I'm addicted to writing case fic. So I hope to see you all on the next one soon! : )

Please let me know what you thought/what I should work on for next time. XOXOXOX and thanks again!!!!